Rugby League laid its roots in South Africa during the 1960’s when the national team played against Great Britain and Australia losing all games by wide margins.
During that same era, the greatest South African Rugby Player of all time and Hall of Fame inductee, Tom Van Vollenhoven, was enjoying a glittering career with British side St Helens. Van Vollenhoven is the all time record try scored at St Helens, with an impressive record of 392 tries in 409 appearances.
Despite the success and talent of players such as Von Vollenhoven, Rugby League virtually disappeared from South Africa at the end of the 60’s, largely as a consequence of the heavy defeats suffered by the national side.
It wasn’t until the 1990’s that the sport began a revival in the Rainbow Nation and its progress since then has been healthy. There are now over 20 domestic club sides competing in several area specific leagues which run alongside a provincial competition which is played every year between the country’s states.
The Rhinos appeared at both the 1995 and 2000 World Cups but failed to make an impact on the global scene suffering from heavy defeats in both competitions. The World Cup in 2013 would give them the opportunity to make amends for their previous poor showings.
Nation Fact File
Area: 1,221,037 km2
Population: 50 million